The early reviews for Apple’s iPhone 4S are in and, as expected, reviewers — who had anticipated an iPhone 5 — are tempered in their praise. Still, they give the model points for its 8-megapixel camera, speed and the Siri voice-recognition feature.
Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walter S. Mossberg, for instance, notes the iPhone 4S “isn’t a dramatic game-changer like some previous iPhones.” For that reason, Mossberg recommends that iPhone 4 users don’t rush to upgrade, but download the new iOS instead. “But owners of older iPhone models, or those with basic phones, will find this latest iPhone a pleasure and a good value.”
Though Mossberg praises the phone’s “brilliant new camera” and “faster, 4G-class download speeds,” he dubs Siri, the voice-recognizing personal assistant, the “standout feature.” Siri “isn’t perfect, and is labeled a beta, but it has great potential and worked pretty well for me, despite some glitches,” he writes.
The New York Times‘s David Pogue, meanwhile, was also captivated by Siri, though he notes its similarities to Dragon Dictation, a free iOS app. “Apple won’t admit that it’s using a version of Dragon Dictation,” he writes, adding that Siri “is infinitely better, though, because it’s a built-in keyboard button, not a separate app.”
Pogue was also enamored with the 4S’s built-in camera, which delivers photos that are “crisp and clear, with beautiful color.” Though it lacks a zoom and has only a tiny LED flash, he says “this phone comes dangerously close to displacing a $200 point-and-shoot digital camera.”
The Guardian‘s, Stephen Fry also gushed about Siri, the camera and the phone’s ability to offer service in various parts of the world. “Siri, the high quality and ultra-fast camera, 30 fps 1080p HD video, globally available voice recognition and the introduction of two antennae (the phone seamlessly switches between whichever is getting the strongest signal) are features that make the 4S irresistible,” he writes. Like Mossberg, he advises iPhone 4 owners who are “tired of the upgrade race” to download iOS 5 instead of buying the 4S.
On the downside, many reviewers also unfavorably compared the iPhone 4S to Android competitors and noted Apple lagged in some Android features. Joshua Topolsky at This is My Next, for instance, notes the phone’s Notification Center feature that collects all of your updates in one place, takes “a page right out of Android’s playbook.”
Finally, there’s the issue of call reception, a bugaboo that has plagued past iPhone models. Apple claims that the model’s two antennas will help that solve the issue. Topolsky wrote that it may have helped. “In my testing, I did seem to be getting more bars more consistently, though it’s tough to say if it made any big difference in terms of call quality.”
Mossberg, however, didn’t see any change, especially if on AT&T. “My AT&T model dropped too many calls, just as earlier AT&T iPhones do,” he writes. “My colleague’s Verizon iPhone 4S dropped none.”
Below you can find CBS’s hands on segment with the new phone. Stay tune in the coming days for Mashable‘s take on the new iPhone 4S.
BONUS: iPhone 4S Product Details
The iPhone 4S looks and feels exactly like the iPhone 4.